Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Few good people in Lagos!

What an angel!

Apparently, there are a few good, kind hearted souls around here in Lagos, Nigeria!

This is based from my experience "grocery" shopping this morning. In order for our nanny to take care of our cats/apartment, I had to go to Shoprite to get some cleaning supplies and cat food supplies before we leave for our holidays tomorrow. Shoprite is a supermarket like Walmart in the USA or Cold Storage in Singapore. Except they are not as big and doesn't carry a big variety of food and other items. It is a supermarket chain from South Africa.

The problem around here is that one have to bring tons of cash everytime you go to the store. When I mean tons, doesn't mean I'm a millionaire or anything like that, ok! Just that we NEVER use our credit card here for our own security issue. Only cash and cash everywhere you go. So, I thought I brought enough cash till I was about to pay. I was wrong. Tried to pay using our local debit card, but out of the perhaps 8 machines they have there, NONE of them works! My total came up to N16, 535 thereabouts and I was short of about N500. Just so you know, N16,535 is about US$102 or S$133 for three bags of cat food, 15 bottles of mineral water, few cleaning supplies, two tic-tacs candy and four apples. Yup! It's outrageous the prices of stuff over here. So i was stuck at the cashier counter. I wasn't sure what to do. Thank goodness, this lady next to me have been "witnessing" all that have been happening to me and she graciously offered to pay the rest. I don't think she's Nigerian though nor is she an expat foreigner. She told me, "Don't worry, it's Christmas!". All I can do is, just say thank you and smile. Maybe it is just because it IS the holiday season. Otherwise, I wonder if she would have helped me if it's not Christmas!!

Things that cost me US$102 here!

Nigeria. From My Eyes.

With A Click From My Camera.

I always have a camera ever ready with me everytime I am in the car. You never know what you will see, experience etc. Especially when one is stuck in Lagos traffic! I think one of these days I will snap a picture of someone peeing in the streets. LOL!!!!! I know it's gross but that's how gross these people are in Lagos. You will never easily find a public restrooms here. They NEVER sanitise either!! Yuck! I am not a professional photographer or anything. Just taking it for fun. A few of the pictures might not be of good quality because I try to discreetly take those pictures at times. Taking pictures of people around here without permission is a big NO, NO! Enjoy.

This policeman holding a rifle during this peak traffic hours

Sweet Georgina with Abigail

View of the road outside our balcony/apartment b4 the "big" makeover.
A local goat market

A Nigerian tuk-tuk

Donkeys under a bridge. Wild perhaps.

Discreetly took pics of these ladies/moms in school. I feel under-dressed each time!

For sale sign on car. I won't be the buyer for sure. Car stalled on the highway. Eventually, it drove away.

Harmattan Update


Yup, that's what I feel about this Harmattan season in Africa at times. If you have no idea what a Harmattan is, click here It makes a lot of people sick. I have been feeling very "funny" in the throat and nose the last few days. Going on the plane TOMORROW so I cannot afford to fall sick! Been grabbing those orange juices in the fridge since I was out of my Vitamin C sizzling tablets. Shit! Need to stock up in the US of A! One more sleep!!! Woohoo!!! So here are some pictures that I took the last few days during this Harmattan season.

Usually I can see the bridge going to Ikoyi but not on Monday.

These cars are covered with the dust.


Friday, 9 December 2011

Left Or Right?!?!


So I hosted a Christmas brunch with a bunch of ladies yesterday at our apartment. Thought that it would be nice to see each other before we all "disappear" for the rest of the year 2011. It was a good turnout. Ladies from Bolivia, USA, Germany, Philippines, Malaysia, India and Vietnam came. That's why I called my brunch "International Christmas Brunch"!

I instructed the ladies to bring in a dish each to share because I hate to do a lot of work in the kitchen especially for a big group. In the end, I still made a mess! Thank goodness for my nanny. I made her work yesterday. There were a really nice spread of food. Our apartment is full of good, yummy aromas and wonderful Christmas music in the background. Not forgetting holiday bubbles too!

My famous egg rolls

Tummies are full, brains and body are "hyped" up from the bubbles, we sat down and started our gifts exchange session. To make the gifts exchange more exciting, I read the story of "Tommy Wright". What the ladies had to do, was to listen to the words "left" or "right" and pass the gifts accordingly to their left or right. At the end of the story, whatever gifts that landed on their lap, will be theirs. You all can google this if you have no idea what I am talking about ^_^! Or click here

I ended up with this as my gift :)
Fun was had by all! Till next year, ladies!

Monday, 5 December 2011

9 More Sleeps!


Nine more sleeps to:

  1. Airplane ride home to the US of A
  2. Fresh cold air
  3. Snow(?)
  4. Driving
  5. Donut Bank
  6. Walmart
  7. Target
  8. Kohl's
  9. First taste of McDonalds after months of absence (not funny!)
  10. Chick A Fil-A
  11. Watching movies in theatres
  12. Eating lots of junk food
  13. Civilised people
and the list goes on and on. Come on now!! Can you tell that I am so ready for the holidays?!?!

You Snooze You Lose!


People ALWAYS tell me, "If you see something in the store/supermarket that you like to eat/drink, buy them! LOTS of them!". I still never learn my lesson. One time, I went into the store and happen to buy a carton box of Sunmaid brand raisins. So, when my husband told me to get more, guess what? It was gone and never to be seen again till now. There are other brand raisins but i like those brand. Sigh....

Then, it was peanut butter. Three stores were sold out on peanut butter! What is this? A hurricane going to come to Lagos or something?!?! Anyhow, I got my hands on some. Now, I have been looking around for pesto sauce in jars. All of the stores are out of them for months now. I am tired of waiting. So today, I told my nanny to go to the market under the bridge. Yes, it is literally a market UNDER a bridge! I will take more pictures next time.

One has to drive pass this sign to go to the market under the bridge.

One of the vegetable seller at the market.
That's one nice thing about this market under the bridge. You can always find fresh vegetables and herbs. My nanny got me a bunch of fresh basil. Love, love the smell of them! I went ahead and start making my own pesto sauce. I learn to make some things/food from scratch eversince we came here to Nigeria since sometimes I cannot get things that are readily available. It's all good!

Fresh basil

Fresh pepper soup leaves. I use these to make Nigerian pepper soup.

This funky looking caterpillar was hiding among the basil leaves. Our youngest son decided to keep this one :)

Finally, my homemade pesto sauce. Yummy!

Roast chicken for dinner tonight.

Saturday, 3 December 2011


Hate It!!!

I am not trying to whine or anything but ok, i am whining a little bit. Today is one of those days I wish I'm on the plane out of Lagos like now, now (favourite phrase here!)! We've been here since 2 July 2011 and we are getting "itchy" to get out of here for some much needed holiday. Traffic around here are getting crazier each day since it is Christmas season too but it is always crazy here anyway. Below is a little story from our adventure today.

So we decided today to go to Frenchies restaurant for lunch since we have not been to this one yet. Frenchies is a small bakery/cafe here in Lagos. We have been going to just lunch here during the weekends the last few weeks. It is a little safer in the daytime for lunch versus at night for dinner. Not safe to travel at night especially during these holiday season here. I usually go there to Frenchies just to buy some sandwiches for the children for takeout. They like the sandwiches but i find it a bit bready and not enough meat. Anyway, so off we go exploring upstairs. The first sight of the restaurant I was already not keen. Then, they do not have the drinks that I want. So I asked for an iced lemon tea. The waiter goes, "You want iced tea?"...i goes,"Yes." The waiter again goes, "Iced tea. So cold water with sliced lemon and a tea bag in it?". I'm already getting impatient. I said,"Yes. And a bottle of water too." Off he goes getting our drinks ready. Few minutes later, this lady came out "Is this what you want?", she said holding a pot of cold water with sliced lemon and a tea bag in it. I looked inside the pot and silently goes hmmmmm...doesn't look right but what the heck! Maybe the tea will turn brown after it gets infused in the water. I was totally wrong! Waited and waited it didn't happen. At this point, we already ordered our food. The waiter came out again. "Sorry, but we don't have fish today so no fish kebabs." That order was for my husband. Fine. So he tried to order roast chicken. Few minutes later he came out again. "Sorry, but we don't have roast chicken." Meaning no chicken either?!?! So he then tried to order the same dish i was trying to order...grilled chicken. I also didn't get my bottled water that I ordered. The waiter went back inside. This time, my husband went back inside carrying my so-called iced tea inside trying to get some hot water.

I can see from the corner of my eyes he wasn't all! All of a sudden, he said, "This is ridiculous, we are not coming back here again!" I know that tone. At this point I wasn't happy either. We paid for drinks and got out of there with our kids.

My "iced tea".

Does it look like one? No!
Anyway, cut the story short, we ended up going to Chocolat Royal for lunch! One of our favourite place to go and eat here and so far so good no problem. Hope it stays that way. Other than that, 11 more sleeps till we get to USA for our holiday. We definately need a change of scenery for a little bit from the weather, surroundings and people.

No, we are not in Denmark or Germany or anything like that. This was displayed in Chocolat Royal. Nice but no Christmas music??

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Short! Short! Short!

Getting Shorter And Shorter!

My hair that is! Yup! Eversince I got my hair damaged here in groovy Lagos, Nigeria, I HAD to get it cut short! Don't ask me how I got it damaged. I was miserable for one whole week. Felt like just to cut my hair bald! I was one of the few, maybe the ONLY one that was brave enough to get my hair done with treatments. I had wanted to straighten my hair. In Singapore, we call it hair rebond. Did it a few times (of course only in Singapore!) and was fine. I know my hair is very dry and it needed treatment but I was "itchy" and couldn't wait so off I go to a salon here near my apartment. Oh boy, never will I do that EVER again! I came out of the salon with my scalp burned, and my hair stiff! I had become a Nigerian woman!!!! Too bad I didn't take a picture.

Anyway, in the end, I found a hairstylist here that I really like. Of course, through recommendations via the American Womens Club here. I have been going to him a few times...for hair steam, highlight and hair cut. So today, I went to see Joseph (my hairstylist) and told him to chop off the back of my hair because it was getting on my nerves touching my neck and all. After 1 1/2 hours in there, I came out smiling all the way! 
A local lady braiding her hair in front of me. Do you see the fake hair one of the salon crew holding?
Happy days! It's ALWAYS an adventure here in Africa!! Ciao for now.....

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A Little Bit Of Sweden.

Are We In Sweden?

Glögg, St. Lucia's buns, Peppakakor (Peppakaka).

You all must be thinking what the heck am I talking about?? Well, have a sit.

We were invited to a small gathering at a neighbour's house last night for some Swedish Christmas appetisers. So up we go to their house. Our other neighbours were there too. I brought along some meatballs and eggrolls (I know it's not even Swedish related!).

Kiddos enjoyed swedish meatballs, hotdogs and french fries while the adults indulged in some Swedish Christmas cuisine. Glögg is a mulled wine which is usually made with red wine, sugar, spices such as cinnamon, cardomom, ginger, cloves and bitter orange and optionally also stronger spirits. Glögg is generally served with raisins, blanched almonds and ginger biscuits (Peppakaka), and is a popular hot drink during the Christmas season.

Karin's homemade Peppakakor.
We also had some delicious homemade St Lucia's buns. A little info-->St. Lucia's Day, recognized throughout Scandinavia, is celebrated on December 13. According to legend, Lucia died a martyr's death and was later made a saint. Especially in Sweden, where it's a national celebration, towns celebrate with traditional ceremonies: St. Lucia symbolizes the promise of the sun's return to bring Sweden from its wintry darkness.

The key figure in any celebration, St. Lucia, dresses in a white gown and wears a crown of candles on her head — sometimes the candles are real, sometimes battery-operated (for safety's sake). For celebrations at home, a young girl in the family will dress as St. Lucia and present her parents with breakfast in bed. That breakfast tray usually includes a pot of tea, milk, and bright-gold St. Lucia Buns. These traditional buns are made with saffron are also known as Lussekatt.

At the end of the night, kids were happy with their new toys that I brought them and adults are happy with belly full of Swedish food and learning all about the Swedish customs and traditions. 


Friday, 25 November 2011

Harmattan Time!

It's Not Winter.It's Not Snowing.

No, it is not winter here just because it is foggy. It has been this way since the last few days. Nigeria does not have four seasons like in Europe and North America but they have two climate here. Rainy season and dry season. So right now, we are experiencing the Harmattan.

This usually lasts from December (but it is not even December yet!) to February and the dust-filled air reduces visibility, causes chaos to airports, flight schedules (hope we won't get affected!), allergies and a lot of extra housekeeping! Yup, you all should check out our balcony! Apparently, the Harmattan brings cooler weather. We shall see.

A little foggy today.


Yes, I know!! It took me a LONG time! Finally, my blog is up....

Friends and family, you all can now sit down, get a cup of coffee, tea and enjoy all the adventures, ups and downs in our household throughout our journey in Africa! Keep your eyes peeled right here! ^_^


This is the start of our African journey. Yes, malaria pills! See how long this will last.